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  • By samablog
    Oct 15, 2009
    "A Catcher in the Rye meets Cannonball Run" The book is about one Jubal Lee Jackson, nicknamed "Jule", a twelve year old boy seeking answers about the human condition and adulthood. In response to a severe beating from his father and the subsequent discovery of his father's adulterous ways, Jule runs away from home. He seeks a vagabond who uses goats to haul a trailer through the countryside, figuring the man to be a guru who can give him the answers he seeks: Why is his father the way he is? How can he be seemingly wretched and good at the same time? Is it possible to escape to a life where these seeming contradictions don't exist for you? The book has a sort of Catcher in The Rye feel to it. Like Caufield, Jule Jackson encounters many depraved and adult things on his journey, from two inbred hillbillies who enjoy bovine copulation to a porno film producer who tries to put Jule in one of his movies to the local town drunk, to of course, the goat man himself. But... More > unlike Catcher in Rye, A Trip of Goats has a madcap feel to it, reminiscent of the Cannonball Run movies. Jule's father, a former state senator with a lot of clout, manages to get every local sheriff involved in the search for his son, who cross paths with a couple of orderlies from the local asylum, searching for two escapees. They all stumble across what Jule stumbles across, but unlike Jule who takes his observations and departs wizened and unharmed, the adults foolishly indulge and get harmed, and boy is it funny. Crawford is an Andrew Sullivan "Hugh Hewitt Award" winner, a caustic writer with an infatuation for the depraved and a wicked sense of humor. It is rare for a novel to put you into intense giggle fits, and this one does so repeatedly. Rather than making you wretch, like a scene from Deliverence, Crawford's goal is to let you laugh at and appreciate humanity's flaws. Which is really the point of the novel, and the understanding that Jule seeks. Holden Caufield and Jule Jackson have similar experiences in each other's stories. They both almost have sex, they both encounter would-be pedophiles, both are drunk at points. But in each case, Holden gets more depressed, more confused, while Jule becomes more of an adult, and gains more clarity. At the end of Catcher, Holden winds up in an asylum. At the end of Trip, Jule winds up with everything back to normal, in fact, even better than it had been before he left. Where Catcher in the Rye ends with a confused and dejected protagonist, A Trip of Goats ends with common sense writ large, delivered by a guru who is no guru, which is kind of the point. Jule is a child playing with model ships at the beginning of the book, and is more of a man than his father by the end. For this reason alone, A Trip of Goats is the better work, and offers better life lessons to the adolescent than Catcher ever did. A Trip of Goats is a short book, a little over 200 pages. And it's very cinematic in nature. You could almost see it being put to film with little or no alterations. I think it would make for a good Quentin Tarantino film.< Less
  • By mhardig
    Aug 29, 2009
    "Nice trip!" A Trip of Goats is a pithy mosaic of adolescence. Jubal Lee brings us with him on the kind of sojourn all introverts remember, with a few interesting twists and turns we might consider ourselves lucky to have avoided. There is little overarching drama. Very few tense thrilling moments of mortal danger. Most everyone lives. Not all the characters problems are fixed and tied up in neat bows by the end of the book like a sitcom episode, but enough are. And, at the end, a taste of redemption- though redemption, it seems, feels on the tongue a lot like Ten High.
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Product Details

First Edition
August 5, 2009
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.86 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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